Series: Immortals After Dark #12
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Published by Pocket Books on 10 January 2012
Reading Challenges: 2014 Antique Reading Roadshow
Lothaire is one of the most complex characters we’ve come across in this series, acting as Nix’s main adversary or the Black King to her White Queen. Spurred on by his mother, Lothaire plans to hold both the Horde and Dacian crowns. He is teetering on the brink of madness however as he regularly drank from supernatural creatures as he killed them. This gave him untold knowledge (and therefore power) but he is plagued by their memories. If you think about the memories one human could amass in their life time and then multiply that by thousands of years and thousands of people, then it’s pretty amazing that he has been able to maintain his tenuous grip on reality.
Lothaire is convinced that the goddess Saroya that inhabits Ellie Pierce’s body must be his true mate and not Ellie herself. Why would fate curse him with a human as his bride and a backward hick at that? His arrogance and stupidity made me question how he managed to stay alive for so long. Lothaire’s desperate and manic search for the ring he thinks will expel Ellie from her body becomes becomes a double-edged sword when he realises he cannot stop even if he wanted to. Lothaire’s definitely not your typical hero and even he acknowledges that he is bad to the core. His treatment of Ellie was pretty appalling but not that surprising, considering what other Cole heroes get up to. I can say though it fit the character perfectly based on what we had seen of him in other novels apart from his IQ which dropped significantly. For someone who has spent thousands of years plotting, he demonstrated fairly little foresight.
Ellie was a pretty interesting character as she was constantly underestimated by the Lore creatures. She showed grit and remained surprisingly upbeat given the crappy cards that life gave her. Waking up from a blackout to discover that the creature inhabiting your body had gone one a killing spree had to suck. I loved her resourcefulness, humour and the fact that her strength of will was so strong it could stop a goddess from getting her own way. I couldn’t stand her accent though which was poured on so thick I almost needed a translator.
I am really disappointed that I can’t muster up the level of outrage for Lothaire’s treatment of Ellie that it deserves. When I first read A Hunger Like No Other I was horrified at the brutal way Lachlain treated Emmeline but I found myself almost rationalising the emotional and mental abuse Lothaire inflicted on Ellie because he’d had a dodgy childhood. His attitude meant the sex scenes (can’t call them love as there wasn’t much in the way of that) awkward as Ellie was literally doing whatever it took to stay alive. Any feelings she had for him felt contrived as she had been isolated from society for so long. I know this is a romance so it is supposed to end happily ever after for our leads but the speed at which Ellie forgave his actions was a bit much given the way he hurt her. We’ve seen the Stockholm Syndrome quite a few times in this series so I wish that Cole would move on and try something different.
I really enjoyed secondary characters such as the Hag, Nix and Thad but the world is getting so big that it is a little unwieldy. I almost feel like I need a relationships chart at the start to keep all the characters straight in my head. It might have actually been better to pair Lothaire up with someone we were already aware of like Nix as a way of keeping the numbers down. Not all the scenes value add and some could easily have been trimmed such as the Mariketa trying to find Ellie.
So where do I stand? Lothaire is objectionable, his motives questionable and his romance skills laughable. He was however a really complex layered creature and that takes skill to create. Ellie was a joy that frankly deserved that imaginary man she dreamed of who would work hard, love her and give her a couple of kids. I can’t honestly say I enjoyed this novel but it did stick with me for a while after I read it, hence my rating.